Special Representative John Ruggie Releases Draft General Principles on Business and Human Rights

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Professor John Ruggie, the UN’s Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, released draft Guiding Principles (GPs) on the responsibilities of States and businesses with respect to human rights this week. Since the inauguration of his mandate, Prof. Ruggie’s “Protect, Respect, and Remedy” framework has set the tone for international discussions about the human rights obligations of businesses, and I’ve been very interested to see his final proposals for “operationalizing” his framework.

I’ll be providing more extensive commentary on the GPs (both to Prof. Ruggie himself and in this blog) in the coming weeks. In general, ERI supports strong recommendations on both preventative measures and access to binding judicial remedies for business-related human rights abuses. We are also interested in what comes next – what structures or processes will arise to carry on the Ruggie mandate and ensure the application of his principles to business conduct worldwide.

As you can see from the copious materials his team has produced, the GPs are the product of almost six years of intensive and extensive study, discussion, and consultation with business, civil society, academia, and state actors worldwide. While we at ERI may wish that Prof. Ruggie’s conclusions went farther than they do, we recognize the tremendous amount of work that has gone into this process and congratulate the Special Representative and his staff on creating a principled, uniform framework within which to think about business and human rights.

This post was written by Jonathan Kaufman, former staff.

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